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Getting cheaper

I am finally credit card debt free, yippee! I gave in and paid off my last two cards in one lump sum. Digging around in one of my bank accounts I had setup to auto pay off a card, it had long been paid off and I had a $800 credit built up. I don’t expect to get 29% or whatever interest rate on the balance, much the pity. A year to go on truck payments, then I’ll be even happier!

I also cut Cingular loose today. I bought a Nokia 6310i off eBay on the cheap and put my T-Mobile prepaid SIM into it. After using it for a few days, I ported my number over to it today. After taxes, I’m paying right at $90/month for Cingular’s national coverage with roaming included. I don’t use my phone or roam as much as I used to, and $100 of prepaid minutes will last me for months. The 6310i is an older GSM model in the same family of my 6360, which I’m attached to. The size is comfortable to hold, volume control on the side, identical menus, and the 6310i even sounds better with an obvious audio bass boost.

The 6310i does have Bluetooth, I was excited when my Mac discovered it. I could finally join the late 1990s and link it to my computer! The excitement quickly went away when I figured out iSync wouldn’t work with it. I found another sync program called Onsync which claims to have support, but it wasn’t working for me.

Speaking of phones, I watched Steve Job’s MacWorld keynote and the introduction of the iPhone. It looks incredibly slick, the browser and email is a great improvement over other phones I’ve used. I have often wanted the exact ability for a device to know my position via GPS and let me use Google Maps to see what kind of food, services, business, etc, are around my immediate vicinity. I have no plans to buy one though, they’re ridiculously expensive and I went with pre-paid mobile service precisely to get away from contracts. Cisco is already suing them in the Northern District of Califoria court for an injuction to stop using the name. Either a business unit didn’t get the memo, or their agreement wasn’t reached yesterday as expected. heeeeee!

To me, there’s a few things missing on the iPhone. No removable battery, you’re screwed when it eventually wears out, nor can you slip on a charged battery when it runs low. I haven’t heard if third party developers would be able to make apps for it, I can imagine the platform would make for some interesting tools. The lack of a iChat is sort of surprising, but this can probably be fixed later with software — you know, because audio, SMS, and email is not enough to stay in contact with all your friends. For those of us already with a Nano, I wonder if they’ll release a “lite” phone without the hard drive.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the iPhone was, “wow, it would be really cool if it had an IR port and I could use it as a remote for Front Row, or even better yet a universal remote!” I say this because of the relative small form factor and I am more likely to have my phone at hand, not my three remotes for television/DVD/VCR/xbox media center. To me it just makes sense. The multi-touch screen would function nicely for a multi-device universal remote.

At first, the AppleTV had my attention. After reading the specs and what it can’t do, I’m less interested. It “plays the same video as iPods play” which means it can’t play DivX or VIDEO_TS from ripped DVDs, both of which are trivial on my Xbox + Xbox Media Center. I do have a DivX, XviD, WMA components for Quicktime, so that might work; still leaves out VIDEO_TS. I knew an attempt to get Linux running on it would surface, I was pleasantly amused when I saw a link on Digg saying “omg iTv would be perfect for Linux and mythtv!!@#$” Who knows, I might just buy one and live life through Apple to see what it’s like. I really need HDTV first.

I hit IKEA yet again. This time I picked up a bunch of picture frames. Sunday night I printed several sets of photographs from my trips, framed them, and put them up in my apartment to fill in gaps. My livingroom has series from Badwater and Kendall Katwalk. The blue skies match very nicely with my blue futon and existing Burning Man print. For the bathroom I did the token nautical theme; a series of a lighthouse and sea shells from Discovery Park in Seattle and coastal picture from Galveston.

I leave for Amsterdam this weekend. I’ll be over there a week for work. The plan is to have Saturday off, but I’m not holding my breath. The realization that I’m flying across the Atlantic to another country for the first time is starting to sink in.

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